It pretty much sums up pages and pages of long-winded, frantic Blue Grotto posts on the whole mess of how schools do their best to NOT prepare kids for the real world. Thanks to CFC IV.
Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people
actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
Amazing. I've never broken 90 seconds.
Alexis Lemaire has broken the record for finding the 13th root of a 200-digit number. It's an incredibly hard calculation so how does the "human calculator" do it?
Fancy yourself as a bit of mental arithmetics buff, one of those who relishes totting up the bill after a restaurant meal for 12, one of those who looks down their nose at calculator users?
Well try this for size.
The task is to find the 13th root of 85,877,066,894,718,045,
The answer's 2396232838850303. Multiply that by itself 13 times and you get the above. Even with a calculator you wouldn't beat Alexis Lemaire doing the calculation in his head.
"It is quite difficult. I did a lot of preparation for this. More than four years of work and a lot of training every day. A lot of memorising. I need three things - calculating, memorising and the third on mathematical skills. It is a lot of work and maybe a natural gift."
There is a long-standing fascination with those who can accomplish astounding feats of mental agility. The "ordinary" human wants to know how, but sadly the geniuses and the savants can only offer fragments of insight into how they function, and the scientists who have studied them rarely offer a definitive answer.
Researchers have tried to link problems with the brain either through trauma or malformation to extraordinary mental abilities - one of the theories being that damage to one area prompts compensation in another. Brain scientist Dr Allan Snyder has suggested that everyone may possess such abilities but be unable to access them.
Kim Peek, the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie Rain Man, has a malformed brain and a below average IQ and yet is able to rapidly read books, memorising vast swaths of information.
|I have these associations between places and numbers - some places are imaginary, I try to vary so I don't confuse the numbers |
"When I think of numbers sometimes I see a movie, sometimes sentences. I can translate the numbers into words. This is very important for me. The art is to convert memory chunks into some kind of structure.
"I see images, phrases, actions. It's very tactile, sensitive. I have these associations between places and numbers. Some places are imaginary, I try to vary so I don't confuse the numbers. It's important to memorise. I have to be precise."
Lemaire's explanation is similar to that of British savant Daniel Tammet. Tammet set the world record for reciting pi at more than 22,000 digits at the museum in 2004.
To him, each number has a distinct colour and appearance, some beautiful, some not, with each complex calculation making up a landscape.
Icelandic in a week
But his skills also stretch to words, with Tammet having reportedly learned Icelandic in a week after a challenge.
It's safe to assume that Lemaire's brain processes don't involve the words "carry one". But there is an explanation for some of what he does. The memorisation he talks about is a series of algorithms, such as a set to tackle the first five digits of the 200-digit number.
He has refined these processes to mind-boggling lengths. For the much simpler calculation the 13th root of a 100-digit number, the first record was set at 23 minutes in 1970. Now Lemaire can manage the calculation in under four seconds.
And whatever the mental processes that lead him to the answer, the fact that he can do this in seconds and without pen or paper remains awesome to the "ordinary" brain.
". . . We are taught from childhood to notice how the perfect oak grows from the acorn and to forget that the acorn itself was dropped by a perfect oak. We are reminded constantly that the adult human being was an embryo, never that the life of the embryo came from two adult human beings. We love to notice that the express engine of today is the descendant of the "Rocket"; we do not equally remember that the "Rocket" springs not from some even more rudimentary engine, but from something much more perfect and complicated than itself - namely, a man of genius."
I want to know what a typical leftist university professor would say if you asked him point blank if he thought students should be exposed to a range of viewpoints in the classroom. It would probably be a good idea to specify by example what you mean by "range of ideas." In other words, you don't mean that for every lecture or reading on the equality of all mankind you need to balance it out with a lecture or reading saying that slavery is a wonderful institution. More like, in a course about imperialism, in addition to covering all of the unspeakable evils unleashed on the developing world by Western white males, you might want to have a chapter or lecture about a good thing or two that resulted, like medicine and infrastructure. Oh, well.
As a Republican, I'm on the Fringe
By Robert Maranto
Sunday, December 9, 2007; B01
Are university faculties biased toward the left? And is this diminishing universities' role in American public life? Conservatives have been saying so since William F. Buckley Jr. wrote "God and Man at Yale" -- in 1951. But lately criticism is coming from others -- making universities face some hard questions.
At a Harvard symposium in October, former Harvard president and Clinton Treasury secretary Larry Summers argued that among liberal arts and social science professors at elite graduate universities, Republicans are "the third group," far behind Democrats and even Ralph Nader supporters. Summers mused that in Washington he was "the right half of the left," while at Harvard he found himself "on the right half of the right."
I know how he feels. I spent four years in the 1990s working at the centrist Brookings Institution and for the Clinton administration and felt right at home ideologically. Yet during much of my two decades in academia, I've been on the "far right" as one who thinks that welfare reform helped the poor, that the United States was right to fight and win the Cold War, and that environmental regulations should be balanced against property rights.
All these views -- commonplace in American society and among the political class -- are practically verboten in much of academia. At many of the colleges I've taught at or consulted for, a perusal of the speakers list and the required readings in the campus bookstore convinced me that a student could probably go through four years without ever encountering a right-of-center view portrayed in a positive light.
A sociologist I know recalls that his decision to become a registered Republican caused "a sensation" at his university. "It was as if I had become a child molester," he said. He eventually quit academia to join a think tank because "you don't want to be in a department where everyone hates your guts."
I think my political views hurt my career some years back when I was interviewing for a job at a prestigious research university. Everything seemed to be going well until I mentioned, in a casual conversation with department members over dinner, that I planned to vote Republican in the upcoming presidential election. Conversation came to a halt, and someone quickly changed the subject. The next day, I thought my final interview went fairly well. But the department ended up hiring someone who had published far less, but apparently "fit" better than I did. At least that's what I was told when I called a month later to learn the outcome of the job search, having never received any further communication from the school. (A friend at the same university later told me he didn't believe that particular department would ever hire a Republican.)
Now there is more data backing up experiences like mine. Recently, my Villanova colleague Richard Redding and my longtime collaborator Frederick Hess commissioned a set of studies to ascertain how rare conservative professors really are, and why. We wanted real scholars to use real data to study whether academia really has a PC problem. While our work was funded by the right-of-center American Enterprise Institute, we (and our funders) have been very clear about our intention to go wherever the data would take us. Among the findings:
Daniel Klein of George Mason University and Charlotta Stern of Stockholm University looked at all the reliable published studies of professors' political and ideological attachments. They found that conservatives and libertarians are outnumbered by liberals and Marxists by roughly two to one in economics, more than five to one in political science, and by 20 to one or more in anthropology and sociology.
In a quantitative analysis of a large-scale student survey, Matthew Woessner of Penn State-Harrisburg and April Kelly-Woessner of Elizabethtown College found strong statistical evidence that talented conservative undergraduates in the humanities, social sciences and sciences are less likely to pursue a PhD than their liberal peers, in part for personal reasons, but also in part because they are offered fewer opportunities to do research with their professors. (Interestingly, this does not hold for highly applied areas such as nursing or computer science.)
Further, academic job markets seem to discriminate against socially conservative PhDs. Stanley Rothman of Smith College and S. Robert Lichter of George Mason University find strong statistical evidence that these academics must publish more books and articles to get the same jobs as their liberal peers. Among professors who have published a book, 73 percent of Democrats are in high-prestige colleges and universities, compared with only 56 percent of Republicans.
Despite that bad job-hunting experience I had, I doubt that legions of leftist professors have set out to purge academia of Republican dissenters. I believe that for the most part the biases conservative academics face are subtle, even unintentional. When making hiring decisions and confronted with several good candidates, we college professors, like anyone else, tend to select people like ourselves.
Unfortunately, subtle biases in how conservative students and professors are treated in the classroom and in the job market have very unsubtle effects on the ideological makeup of the professoriate. The resulting lack of intellectual diversity harms academia by limiting the questions academics ask, the phenomena we study, and ultimately the conclusions we reach.
There are numerous examples of this ideological isolation from society. As political scientist Steven Teles showed in his book "Whose Welfare?," the public had determined by the 1970s that welfare wasn't working -- yet many sociology professors even now deny that '70s-style welfare programs were bad for their recipients. Similarly, despite New York City's 15-year-long decline in crime, most criminologists still struggle to attribute the increased safety to demographic shifts or even random statistical variations (which apparently skipped other cities) rather than more effective policing.
In my own area, public administration, it took years for bureaucracy-defending professors to realize that then-Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review (aka Reinventing Government) was not a reactionary attempt to destroy government agencies, but rather a centrist attempt to revitalize them. Most of the critics of the academy are conservatives or libertarians, but even the left-of-center E.D. Hirsch argues in "The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them" that academics in schools of education have harmed young people by promoting progressive dogma rather than examining what works in real classrooms.
All this is bad for society because academics' ideological blinders make it more difficult to solve domestic problems and to understand foreign challenges. Moreover, a leftist ideological monoculture is bad for universities, rendering them intellectually dull places imbued with careerism rather than the energy of contending ideas, a point made by academic critics across the ideological spectrum from Russell Jacoby on the left to Josiah Bunting III on the right.
It's odd that my university was one of only a handful in Pennsylvania to have held a debate on the Iraq War in 2003. That happened because left-leaning Villanova professors realized that to be fair they needed to expose students to views different from their own, so they invited three relatively conservative faculty members to take part in a discussion of the decision to invade. Though I was then a junior faculty member arguing the unpopular (pro-war) side, I knew that my senior colleagues would not hold it against me.
Yet a conservative friend at another university had an equal and opposite experience. When he told his department chair that he and a liberal colleague planned to publicly debate the decision to invade Iraq, his chair talked him out of it, saying that it could complicate his tenure decision two years down the road. On the one hand, the department chair was doing his job, protecting a junior faculty member from unfair treatment; on the other hand, he shouldn't have had to.
Unfortunately, critics are too often tone deaf about the solutions to academia's problems. Conservative activist David Horowitz and Students for Academic Freedom, a group he supports, advocate an Academic Bill of Rights guaranteeing equality for ideological minorities (typically conservatives) and ensuring that faculty are hired and promoted and students graded solely on the basis of their competence and knowledge, not their ideology or religion. That sounds great in theory, but it could have the unintended consequence of encouraging any student who gets a C to plead ideological bias.
Ultimately, universities will have to clean their own houses. Professors need to re-embrace a culture of reasoned inquiry and debate. And since debate requires disagreement, higher education needs to encourage intellectual diversity in its hiring and promotion decisions with something like the fervor it shows for ethnic and racial diversity. It's the only way universities will earn back society's respect and reclaim their role at the center of public life.
Robert Maranto is an associate professor of political science at Villanova University and co-editor of "Reforming the Politically Correct University," to be published in 2008.
As President Clinton was walking along the shores of the Potomac river one day, his foot tripped on a partially buried bottle. Picking it up, Bill rubbed it to expose the label. Suddenly a cloud poured from the bottle and a huge genie appeared.
"Thank you, oh thank you for saving me from the prison I've been in. I've been in there for hundreds, yes, hundreds of years. As an expression of my overwhelming gratitude I will grant you one wish."
Mr. Clinton, being a statesman and former world leader, knew exactly what to ask for. "Peace in the Mideast!" he quickly replied.
The genie seemed a little confused. "Mideast ... Mideast ... I can't seem to remember... can you help me out a little?
The former President quickly sent his secret service agents to get a world map and have it brought over to the genie and he carefully points out the affected area of the globe, recounting briefly the long-standing geopolitical instability of the area.
The genie's eyes widen and he says "Oh, yeah. Now I remember. The Mideast! Whew. That's a tough one. You know, they've been fighting over there quite literally for millennia. I hate to admit it, but I think that's more than I can handle. I'm sorry Mr. Clinton. Can you wish for something else?"
Clinton, obviously crestfallen at such a missed opportunity, can think of only one other wish and says: "Could you make the American people like my wife?"
The genie pauses, grimaces, then says, "Let me see that map again."
WASHINGTON, DC - Congress is considering sweeping legislation which will provide new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.
"Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society," said California Senator Barbara Boxer. "We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing."
In a Capitol Hill press conference, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pointed to the success of the U.S. Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack any job skills, making this agency the single largest U.S. employer of Persons of Inability.
Private-sector industries with good records of nondiscrimination against the Inept include financial advisors (73%), retail sales (72%), the automotive industry (70%), the airline industry (68%), and home improvement "warehouse" stores (65%). At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has a great record of hiring Persons of Inability (63%).
Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million "middle man" positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.
Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given so as to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees.
The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability into middle-management positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.
Finally, the AWNA Act contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Nonabled--banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as "Do you have any skills or experience which relate to this job?"
"As a Non-abled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint , Michigan , due to her lack of any discernible job skills. "This new law should really help people like me." With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Said Senator Ted Kennedy: "As a Senator With No Abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her adequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation."
Little Anthony Gargiula nails the National Anthem! It's a little more impressive than that time when Carl Lewis sang it a number of years back. Thanks to Monique B. (the former Monique R.) for this:
Click on this link:
The title of the column below is Why Atheists Are So Angry. I don't know what the true answer is, but there are two obvious possibilities:
1) The atheists, as D'Souza notes, are more or less angry AT God for existing. This reminds me of when C.S. Lewis was a young atheist at Oxford. He says in his book Surprised by Joy that he was very angry at God for not existing. . . .
2) The atheists need to field a better debater, rather than trot out fellows who keep getting their asses handed to them by Dinesh D'Souza.
Why Atheists Are So Angry
By Dinesh D'Souza
Sunday, December 9, 2007
If you haven't seen my “God v. Atheism” debate with philosopher Daniel Dennett, you can view it at Tothesource.org. You should read the comments in response to the debate both on my AOL blog as well as on the atheist site richarddawkins.net. From the atheists you hear statements like this: "D'Souza is a goddamned idiot." "Odious little toad." "D'Souza is full of s**t." "A smug, joyless twit." "Total moron." "Little turd." "Two-faced liar." Etc, etc. Now admittedly the topic of God v. atheism can be an emotional one, but you will find no comparable invective on the Christian side. Why then are so many atheists so angry?
One reason I think is that they are God-haters. Atheists often like to portray themselves as "unbelievers" but this is not strictly accurate. If they were mere unbelievers they would simply live their lives as if God did not exist. I don't believe in unicorns, but then I haven't written any books called The End of Unicorns, Unicorns are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion. Clearly the atheists go beyond disbelief; they are on the warpath against God. And you can hear their bitterness not only in their book titles but also in their mean-spirited invective.
Here is a second reason the atheists sound so angry. They are not used to having their sophistries exposed. For the past three years the new atheists have had a virtually free ride. Dawkins and Hitchens make outrageous claims ("religion poisons everything") and media pundits like Lou Dobbs and Tim Russert fawn all over them. But in the past few months I've been meeting the leading atheist spokesmen in open debate, and challenging them on the basis of the same reason and science and evidence that they say vindicates their claims.
After my first debate with Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine, several atheists on Dawkins' site said, "Well, D'Souza won that debate, but wait till he meets Hitchens. Hitchens will wipe the floor with him. D'Souza RIP." Then after I debated Hitchens the atheists said, "Oh no, this one didn't go as planned. Hitchens didn't do so well." Another commented that atheists could not afford to lose two in a row. Even so, one atheist hopefully noted that Hitchens was not the right guy to debate me; rather, Daniel Dennett has the scholarly weight to do the job.
Now after my Dennett debate, what's the verdict? Well, the audience was full of Dennett supporters who began with enthusiastic applause for him but, as the debate went on, fell largely silent. Several came up to me afterward and told me that I had won. Dennett himself seemed dispirited after the event. Even so, when I posted the debate on my blog, the atheists went into damage control mode. The debate was instantly posted on atheist sites, and atheists rushed to my AOL blog to vote Dennett the winner. This effort gave atheists an early lead, but when the votes were tallied I was the victor. Interestingly my margin of victory was even bigger than that for the resolution, suggesting that several people voted that "God Is a Man-Made Invention" and still thought I won the debate.
A good way to assess a debate is to see what the partisans on each side say. Among Christians the verdict is unanimous. Here’s a sample comment from a Townhall reader: "My heart went out to Professor Dennett because he was so totally over-matched in this debate You totally demolished him as you have the other atheists you have debated." But all you have to do is to go to atheist sites to see that many atheists also think that I won, although this is sometimes very grudgingly admitted.
Here is a sampling of comments that I've taken from richarddawkins.net. "I was at the debate and thought Dennett did not prove his point." "I'm so tired of these D'Souza debates. The more people we send his way the larger his smile grows." "I feel such debates should stop." "I love Dennett's ideas about atheism but I do think he handled this debate poorly against Dinesh." "Ok, Dennett sucked...Dennett's type of responses just made him look like an ass." "Dinesh is an amazingly talented orator, considering how hopeless a case he is arguing." "Hitchens has had a shot, as has Dennett, and neither has succeeded in demolishing D'Souza. D'Souza has a very effective debating technique. Not only did a lot of atheists get up and fire straw-man arguments at D'Souza that he was easily able to counter and make them look foolish, but Dennett...lost his composure and his train of thought." "Let's face it, this guy has taken our best shots and still come out looking good. Maddening."
So where does this leave the atheists? These guys now seem to be 0-3. Some of the blog posters on Dawkins' site are calling on Sam Harris and Dawkins himself to step into the ring. Harris seems willing, although he has approached me about doing a written rather than an oral debate. Dawkins continues to avoid my invitation to debate on a secular West Coast campus, leading one atheist to dub him Richard the Chickenhearted. I really hope that Dawkins proves he has the courage of his convictions. (How brave is it to beat up on former televangelist Ted Haggard?)
Otherwise the self-styled "brights" are going to face the empirical fact that when it comes to defending their views, atheists are basically losers. Remarkably, the "party of reason" is simply incompetent to vindicate those claims against an advocate of the "party of faith." Now what could be more embarrassing than that?
Bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza's new book What's So Great About Christianity has just been released. D’Souza is the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
The nominations for the 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards are:
MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA
"American Gangster" - Imagine Entertainment/Scott Free Productions; Universal Pictures
"Atonement" - Working Title Productions; Focus Features
"Eastern Promises" - Kudos Pictures - Uk Serendipity Point Films - Canada A Uk/Canada Co-Production; Focus Features
"The Great Debaters" - Harpo Films; The Weinstein Company/MGM
"Michael Clayton" - Clayton Productions Llc; Warner Bros. Pictures
"No Country For Old Men" - A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production; Miramax/Paramount Vantage
"There Will Be Blood" - A Joanne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production; Paramount Vantage and Miramax Films
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA
Cate Blanchett - "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Julie Christie - "Away From Her"
Jodie Foster - "The Brave One"
Angelina Jolie - "A Mighty Heart"
Keira Knightley - "Atonement"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA
George Clooney - "Michael Clayton"
Daniel Day-Lewis - "There Will Be Blood"
James McAvoy - "Atonement"
Viggo Mortensen - "Eastern Promises"
Denzel Washington - "American Gangster"
MOTION PICTURE - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
"Across The Universe" - Revolution Studios International; Sony Pictures Releasing
"Charlie Wilson’s War" - Universal Pictures/Relativity Media/Participant Productions/Playtone; Universal Pictures
"Hairspray" - New Line Cinema in association with Ingenious Film Partners; New Line Cinema
"Juno" - Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production; Fox Searchlight Pictures
"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" - Parkes/Mac Donald and Zanuck Company; Warner Bros. Pictures
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Amy Adams - "Enchanted"
Nikki Blonsky - "Hairspray"
Helena Bonham Carter - "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Marion Cotillard - "La Vie en rose"
Ellen Page - "Juno"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Johnny Depp - "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Ryan Gosling - "Lars And The Real Girl"
Tom Hanks - "Charlie Wilson’s War"
Philip Seymour Hoffman - "The Savages"
John C. Reilly - Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
"Bee Movie" - DreamWorks Animation; DreamWorks Animation
"Ratatouille" - Pixar; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Distribution
"The Simpsons Movie" - Gracie Films; Twentieth Century Fox
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
"4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days" (Romania) - Mobra Films; IFC First Take
"The Diving Bell And The Butterfly" (France And USA) - A Kennedy/Marshall Company And Jon Kilik Production; Miramax/Paramount Vantage
"The Kite Runner" (USA) - Dreamworks Pictures Sidney Kimmel Entertainment And Paramount Classics Participant Productions Present A Sidney Kimmel Entertainment And Parkes/Macdonald Production Distributed By Paramount Classics
"Lust, Caution" (Taiwan) - Haishang Films; Focus Features
"Persepolis" (France) - 247 Films; Sony Pictures Classics
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Cate Blanchett - "I’m Not There"
Julia Roberts - "Charlie Wilson’S War"
Saoirse Ronan - "Atonement"
Amy Ryan - "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton - "Michael Clayton"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Casey Affleck - "The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford"
Javier Bardem - "No Country For Old Men"
Philip Seymour Hoffman - "Charlie Wilson’s War"
John Travolta - "Hairspray"
Tom Wilkinson - "Michael Clayton"
DIRECTOR - MOTION PICTURE
Tim Burton - "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
Ethan Coen & Joel Coen - "No Country For Old Men"
Julian Schnabel - "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly"
Ridley Scott - "American Gangster"
Joe Wright - "Atonement"
SCREENPLAY - MOTION PICTURE
Diablo Cody - "Juno"
Ethan Coen & Joel Coen - "No Country For Old Men"
Christopher Hampton - "Atonement"
Ronald Harwood - "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly"
Aaron Sorkin - "Charlie Wilson’s War"
ORIGINAL SCORE - MOTION PICTURE
Michael Brook, Kaki King, Eddie Vedder - "Into The Wild"
Clint Eastwood - "Grace Is Gone"
Alberto Iglesias - "The Kite Runner"
Dario Marianelli - "Atonement"
Howard Shore - "Eastern Promises"
ORIGINAL SONG - MOTION PICTURE
"Despedida" from "Love In The Time Of Cholera" - Music By: Shakira, Antonio Pinto, Lyrics By: Shakira
"Grace Is Gone" from "Grace Is Gone" - Music By: Clint Eastwood, Lyrics By: Carole Bayer Sager
"Guaranteed" from "Into The Wild" - Music & Lyrics By: Eddie Vedder
"That’s How You Know" from "Enchanted"- Music & Lyrics By: Alan Menken
"Walk Hard" from "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" - Music & Lyrics by: Marshall Crenshaw, John C. Reilly, Judd Apatow, Kasdan
TELEVISION SERIES - DRAMA
"Big Love" (HBO) - Anima Sola and Playtone Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
"Damages" (Fx Networks) - FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television
"Grey’s Anatomy" (ABC) - ABC Studios
"House" (Fox) - Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with Universal Media Studios
"Mad Men" (Amc) - Lionsgate Television
"The Tudors" (Showtime) - Showtime/Peace Arch Entertainment/Working Title/Reveille Productions Limited/An Ireland-Canada Co-Production
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES - DRAMA
Patricia Arquette- "Medium"
Glenn Close - "Damages"
Minnie Driver - "The Riches"
Edie Falco - "The Sopranos"
Sally Field - "Brothers & Sisters"
Holly Hunter - "Saving Grace"
Kyra Sedgwick - "The Closer"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES - DRAMA
Michael C. Hall - "Dexter"
Jon Hamm - "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie - "House"
Jonathan Rhys Meyers - "The Tudors"
Bill Paxton - "Big Love"
TELEVISION SERIES - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
"30 Rock" (NBC) - Universal Media Studios In Association With Broadway Video And Little Stranger - Inc.
"Californication" (Showtime) - Showtime Presents In Association With Aggressive Mediocrity, And Then…, Twilight Time Films
"Entourage" (HBO) - Leverage And Closest To The Hole Productions In Association With HBO Entertainment
"Extras" (HBO) - BBC And HBO Entertainment
"Pushing Daisies" (ABC) - Living Dead Guy Productions, The Jinks/Cohen Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES -COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Christina Applegate - "Samantha Who?"
America Ferrera - "Ugly Betty"
Tina Fey - "30 Rock"
Anna Friel - "Pushing Daisies"
Mary-Louise Parker - "Weeds"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Alec Baldwin - "30 Rock"
Steve Carell - "The Office"
David Duchovny - "Californication"
Ricky Gervais - "Extras"
Lee Pace - "Pushing Daisies"
MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
"Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" (HBO) - A Wolf Films/Traveler’S Rest Production In Association With HBO Films
"The Company" (TNT) - Sony Pictures Television
"Five Days" (HBO) - HBO Films In Association With BBC Films
"Longford" (HBO) - A Granada Production in association with Channel 4 and HBO Films
"The State Within" (BBC America) - BBC America, BBC
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Bryce Dallas Howard - "As You Like It"
Debra Messing - "The Starter Wife"
Queen Latifah - "Life Support"
Sissy Spacek - "Pictures Of Hollis Woods"
Ruth Wilson - "Jane Eyre" ("Masterpiece Theatre")
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Adam Beach - "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee"
Ernest Borgnine - "A Grandpa For Christmas"
Jim Broadbent - "Longford"
Jason Isaacs - "The State Within"
James Nesbitt - "Jekyll"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Rose Byrne - "Damages"
Rachel Griffiths - "Brothers & Sisters"
Katherine Heigl - "Grey’s Anatomy"
Samantha Morton - "Longford"
Anna Paquin - "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee"
Jaime Pressly - "My Name Is Earl"
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Ted Danson - "Damages"
Kevin Dillon - "Entourage"
Jeremy Piven - "Entourage"
Andy Serkis - "Longford"
William Shatner - "Boston Legal"
Donald Sutherland - "Dirty Sexy Money"
November 15, 2007
TAMPA BAY, FL — Tampa Bay Devil Rays officials announced Monday that the team will be shortening its name to the "Tampa Bay Rays," that their updated uniforms will feature a blue-and-white color scheme accented by orange rays of sunshine, and that they are now a minor-league hockey team in the Florida Panthers system. "We tried the combination of calling ourselves the Devil Rays, wearing purple-and-black uniforms, and playing the sport of baseball for 10 years, and it just didn't work out," said Rays goalie Carl Crawford, noting that it was time to move the franchise away from its association with the distinctly shaped sea-dwelling mammal, the diabolical connotations of their team nickname, and the practice of hitting and catching baseballs. "These changes will make our team more marketable, triple our fan base, and finally, give us a realistic chance to win. I can't wait to get back on the ice!" The Tampa Bay Rays will play their first game of the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League season tomorrow night against their in-state expansion team rivals, the Miami Ice Dolphins.
If you work in sales at a European bank, try wearing these cutting-edge shoes with a non-pleated, drainpipe-legged suit with many buttons up and down the front, probably in a shade of medium-brown or hospital-scrubs-blue (accompanied, of course, by a tie knot that measures about seven inches across) . . . .
Brett Favre: "Listen, I don't know anything about climate change, but I'd hate to see my daughters grow up in a world where steaming black-guy heads are just something you see on ESPN Classic."
December 6, 2007
NEW YORK — Steaming black-guy heads, the traditional sign of approaching winter for generations of football fans, have been occurring later in the season with every passing year, a fact that may be evidence of a climatic change with long-term effects on football itself, top scientists in the meteorological department of the National Football League said in a study released Monday.
"The phenomenon of weather-related African-American supracranial vaporous emission, or 'Steaming Black-Guy Heads,' as it is colloquially known, occurs when cold dry winter air comes into contact with hot, humid, shaven heads of football players, causing their personal water vapor to condense and rise on a column of heated air," the statement read in part. "It is then observed by network cameramen, who overwhelmingly choose to film African-American players due to the dramatic contrasts that result—especially when the player in question is backlit—and beamed to millions of households during time-outs, replay reviews, and other stoppages of play. The viewers then realize that winter has come to America."
"However, film review reveals that steaming black-guy heads, which during the 1970s were commonplace in mid-September, have in recent years not been sighted until the weeks after Thanksgiving," the statement continued. "Although further study is definitely called for, we conclude that the pronounced trend for steaming black-guy heads to occur progressively later every year—coupled with the phenomenon of giant triangles of ass-sweat persisting well into November—is a possible indication of a slowly warming climate across the entire NFL."
League commissioner Roger Goodell was not available for comment, saying that, although early-season instances of steaming black-guy heads were obviously preferable, the NFL had no official stance on climate change, global warming, or other meteorological phenomena that did not directly affect the scheduling or outcome of games.
Reaction among coaches and players has been mixed.
"When I came into the league with Tampa Bay, steaming black-guy heads were everywhere in October," said longtime NFL veteran and current Carolina Panthers quarterback Vinny Testaverde. "The Bucs were in the NFC Central back then, and we played in Chicago and Green Bay a lot, and to me, they always meant Halloween was coming. But these days, the rookies think of them as the first sign of Christmas. You can't tell me that's not global warming."
"Early on in my career, I saw them a lot, even in September," said Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who still has fond memories of the steaming heads of such Packer greats as Sterling Sharpe, LeRoy Butler, and Reggie White. "But this year we only started getting them just this week, and it's December already. Listen, I don't know anything about climate change, but I'd hate to see my daughters grow up in a world where steaming black-guy heads are just something you see on ESPN Classic."
NFL climatologist Lee Orfordson, one of the authors of the report, advised caution among those worried about the dwindling instances of steaming black-guy heads around the league.
"Remember that there are more domed stadiums now, that Northern-tier teams are being scheduled for more away games in Southern-tier cities during the winter months, and above all, that steaming black-guy heads are a single, if dramatic, phenomenon," Orfordson said. "There are plenty of numbers still to crunch here before we can say the steaming black-guy head has gone the way of the dodo."
Still, for generations of fans for whom steaming black-guy heads were an important symbol of seasonal change, the announcement has inspired a definite feeling of foreboding.
"I was the very first of the steaming black-guy heads," said former Raider defensive end Otis "The Grandfather Of All Steaming Black-Guy Heads" Sistrunk, whose own vigorously steaming head was noted by ABC color man Alex Karras in the early autumn of 1974 and began a winter-onset sideline-camera tradition that continues to this day. "And I'm very, very proud of that. I just hope I don't live to see the last."
Certain issues are simple, and need not be made complicated for the sake of debate. The Death Tax is one of them. Morally, it is sick. As Professor Goldberg rightly points out, "If I give something to my kid, I already paid the tax."
Terry B. and I had a sociology prof at Georgetown freshman or sophomore year, Dr. Mashayekhi, who proclaimed to his captive audience that he believed that ALL human beings should have to start with a clean slate, with nothing. He favored outlawing any sort of transfer of wealth from one generation to another. Needless to say, I'm sure he was looked at by his colleagues as a moderate, not a true radical. On a university campus, when discussing the evils of capitalism and commerce, anything short of the guillotine is ineffective in taking care of the second part of "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable."
We don't normally look to Tinsel Town liberals for insights on U.S. tax policy, but Whoopi Goldberg's comments on the estate tax last week deserve more attention.
During a discussion of Republican Presidential candidates on ABC's "The View," which the comedian co-hosts, Ms. Goldberg said, "I'd like somebody to get rid of the death tax. That's what I want. I don't want to get taxed just because I died." The studio audience started applauding, but she wasn't done. "I just don't think it's right," she continued. "If I give something to my kid, I already paid the tax. Why should I have to pay it again because I died?"
Back in 2001, before President Bush signed estate tax reform into law, the death duty topped off at 55% on estates worth more than $3 million. Today the top federal rate is 45% with an exemption of $2 million, and under current law the rate falls to zero in 2010. In 2011, however, the death tax is resurrected, with the top rate restored to 55% and the exemption set at $1 million.
When another co-host, Joy Behar, responded to Ms. Goldberg's remarks by asserting, "Only people with a lot of money say that," Ms. Goldberg shot back, "No, I don't think so . . . It doesn't matter if you have or don't have money. Once you paid your taxes, it should be a done deal. You shouldn't have to pay twice."
Ms. Goldberg has her political facts down. It's not just "people with a lot of money" who oppose confiscatory estate taxes. Billionaires like Warren Buffett have made a crusade of urging Congress to keep the death tax, even as he shelters much of his own wealth from that tax by giving to charity. However, according to polls, some 70% of voters favor a full repeal. And many, like Ms. Goldberg apparently, do so on moral grounds. Death as a taxable event and double taxation offend the average American's sense of fairness.
Thanks to CFC IV:
. . . with a little help from the weirdest house in all of L.A. Anyone who lives in L.A. knows of this house over in Hollywood on Beverly Blvd. It is a strange white house with about two dozen replicas of Michaelangelo's David sculpture arrayed across the front of the property. You can't see it in the photo, but the owner also has his Mercedes, SUV, and other family cars custom painted in a shockingly awful puke-orange.
Anyway, Terry and Monique sent along this pic of Mo striking a pose with new "Black Santa" Christmas decorations propped up on top of the Davids. Go figure.
Check out the elephant example. This column helps to show how so much bad policy is simply based on people trying to feel better, rather than on actual consequences. . . .
Tragedy of the Commons II
By John Stossel
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
My Thanksgiving column about how the pilgrims nearly starved practicing communal farming but thrived once they switched to private cultivation made some people angry. One commented, "Sharing of the fruits of our labor is a bad thing?"
I never said that.
I practice charity regularly. I believe in sharing. But when government takes our money by force and gives it to others, that's not sharing.
And sharing can't be a basis for production -- you can't share what hasn't been produced. My point is that production and prosperity require property rights. Property rights associate effort with benefits. Where benefits are unrelated to effort, people do the least amount necessary to get by while taking the most they can get. Economists have a pithy way of summing up this truth: No one washes a rental car.
It's called the "tragedy of the commons." The idea is as old as ancient Greece, but ecologist Garrett Hardin popularized the phrase in a 1968 Science magazine article. Hardin described a common pasture on which anyone may graze his livestock. Each person will benefit from a larger herd but will suffer only a tiny fraction of the negative effects of overgrazing. Public Choice economists call this "concentrated benefits and dispersed costs."
That's a recipe for depleting the resource. If a herdsman were to leave a portion of the commons ungrazed, someone else would gain the benefit, so why leave it ungrazed? Soon, all the grass is gone, and the livestock die. That's the tragedy of the commons.
There are two possible solutions. One is to put someone in charge. But that someone would have arbitrary power over the rest -- he may give his friends better terms -- and one individual can't possibly know how to plan the village economy.
The second solution, as the pilgrims learned the hard way, is private property. Property rights unite costs and benefits. If a herdsman owns part of the pasture, he reaps not only 100 percent of the benefits of enlarging his herd but also 100 percent of the costs. Under those conditions, he behaves differently. If he undergrazes, uses fewer pesticides, etc., to make sure that the pasture flourishes next year, he can anticipate the future benefits. So, he has a strong incentive to be a good steward of the land.
This principle is pertinent today. People lament endangered species and call for government action. But that is the inferior "solution" already discussed. What we need is private property.
Cows, chickens, turkeys and pigs are never at risk of becoming endangered. What's special about them? Only that individuals own these animals and sell them. That gives livestock owners an incentive to keep them healthy and plentiful year after year.
The animals whose future we do worry about -- whales and elephants, for example -- are not typically subject to ownership. It's the tragedy of the commons.
Elephants are endangered because in much of Africa, poachers kill them for their tusks. Poachers have no incentive to expand herds, and neither does anyone else. Governments outlawed hunting and the ivory trade, but that hasn't stopped the loss of elephants. The plain is too vast to police it all.
Yet, where the property principle has been applied -- however imperfectly -- the fate of the elephants has been reversed. Villagers in Zimbabwe earn income by permitting hunting. In effect, the villagers have property rights in the herds. That changes attitudes. They'd be poorer if they let the elephants be hunted to extinction.
The result? "To say that we have too many elephants would be an understatement," Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management acting director E.W. Kanhanga said in 2001.
The system is not perfect because individual property rights -- which would create a stronger sense of responsibility -- are not allowed. Moreover, the system has come under suspicion because cronies of Zimbabwe's despicable dictator, Robert Mugabe, are said to be killing elephants in game parks.
Nevertheless, Zimbabwe tried property rights. Kenya tried prohibition. Kenya lost elephants while Zimbabwe gained them. [http://tinyurl.com/22xdrp].
The pattern is clear. Property equals responsibility equals prosperity.
John Stossel is an award-winning news correspondent and author of Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong.
Present this becoming sweater to your four-legged best friend on Christmas and see how grateful he is! From the Orvis catalog:
Fisherman’s Cable Knit Dog Sweater
Keep your dog warm in a classic cable knit sweater designed just for him. Perfect for warming up after a run, brisk swim, or bath time, our turtleneck sweater stretches to make it easy to put on and take off. Plus, it’s easy to clean—just machine wash. In ivory. Acrylic. Washable. Imported.
Sizes: small (18"-20" long; 21" girth), medium (24" long; 26" girth), large (28" long; 32" girth), x-large (34" long; 38" girth).